Wallcut, Elizabeth (née Marshall)

Variant first names: Eliza
Variant last names: Wallcut; Walcutt; Walcott; Walcut
Birth: 1721
Death: 1811
Faith:

Christian

Nationality:

Anglo-American

Occupation:

schoolmistress

Residence:

Hanover, NH (from 1774 to 1775)

Boston (from 1775 to 1811)

Marital status:

Married and widowed, with three sons and a daughter: Benjamin, Christoper, Thomas, Lucy.

Biography:

Elizabeth Wallcut was the sister of Colonel Thomas Marshall, a Revolutionary war patriot, and the niece of Susanna Wheatley, mistress of the African slave and poet Phillis Wheatley. Born in 1721 into a Boston family of tradespeople of moderate means and education, Wallcut married and had three sons, Christopher, Benjamin and Thomas, and one daughter, Lucy. Through the Wheatleys, Wallcut was connected to the Christian Evangelical and Indian-mission circles in New England, and was close to Phillis Wheatley. According to family accounts, Wallcut was a person of strong character. In 1770, she sent her youngest son Thomas, then 12, to attend Moor's Indian Charity School, recently removed to Hanover, New Hampshire. Though promising, Thomas was not a good student, and in June 1774, Wheelock sent him, with Levi Frisbie, to Canada to learn Indian languages. Wallcut and her daughter Lucy moved to Hanover as caretakers of the Indians boys, including several Abenakis who had come from Canada to increase the flagging population of Natives at the School to almost 20. They shared lodging with the Indian boys and Jacob Fowler, a former Wheelock pupil and then teacher at the School, and his wife Esther. Thomas entered Dartmouth in 1775, and after he took a job in a hospital in Albany in 1776, Wallcut and Lucy moved back to Boston. Wallcut's son Benjamin was taken prisoner by the British and her son Christopher was killed in battle in 1777. There is some evidence that Phillis Wheatley took refuge in Wallcut's house in Boston after the British left in 1777, and that John Peters, Wheatley's husband, tried but failed to retrieve Wheatley's second manuscript of poems from Lucy. After the War, Wallcut ran a "dame school" in Boston for the children of prominent families. The Boston City Directory for 1789 lists "Walcutt, Widow, school-mistress, Purchase-street."

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Sources:

Calloway, Colin. The Indian History of an American Institution: Native Americans and Dartmouth. Hanover: University Press of New England, 2010; Carretta, Vincent. Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage. University of Georgia Press, 2011.